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7/30/2002
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Blue Pumpkin Releases Workforce-Optimization Tools

The two application sets manage long-range HR planning, budgeting, employee scheduling, productivity assessment, payroll integration, and performance measurement.

In these days of tight resources and growing demands for quality customer service, getting the most out of employees is mission critical for businesses. Software maker Blue Pumpkin Inc. says it has a solution to help address these issues, particularly when it comes to call-center employee management.

The company Tuesday released its complete Workforce Optimization Suite, which includes two application sets that manage long-range human-resource planning, budgeting, employee scheduling, productivity assessment, payroll integration, and performance measurement. The key to the suite is that it helps managers, particularly in the contact center, automatically align the skill sets and schedules of their employees with business functions. That's typically done through spreadsheets--by linking in the workforce software with CRM and ERP systems, HR applications, call-routing apps, and data warehouses, so historical data can be applied to current workforce planning.

For instance, a retailer can track the volume and type of customer calls received during a specific time period, then automatically schedule the correct number of employees knowledgeable in the area to work during those times. It also can cut back on the number of employees on the clock during slow periods. The applications can also be used to measure the effect of marketing campaigns on customer call volumes.

The applications will also match the working hours of employees to individual productivity levels. If an employee is on the clock at 8:30 but doesn't produce anything until 9:30, managers will be alerted and take steps to get that slacker away from the water cooler and to the desk.

While Blue Pumpkin apps are historically aimed at managing call centers, a spokeswoman says the company is working with existing customers to expand the functionalities into all areas of the business. The applications can run on NT or Win2000 platforms and IBM's WebSphere or BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic servers. Pricing for suite licenses ranges from $200 to $1,000 per user, depending on the applications and modules purchased.

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